North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A trove of classified military documents, including the joint South Korea-US wartime operational plans for conflict with Pyongyang, was stolen by North Korean hackers. Lee Cheol-hee, a member of the ruling Democratic party, on Tuesday said hackers had broken into a defence data centre in September last year. He said stolen documents included Operational Plan 5015, the most recent blueprint for war with North Korea. The plans reportedly includes detailed procedures for a decapitation strike against the North Korean regime, a proposal that has infuriated Kim Jong Un, the country’s supreme leader. The development comes amid growing anxiety in South Korea that US President Donald Trump intends to use military action to curb North Korea’s rapidly developing nuclear and ballistic missiles programmes.
Citing South Korean defence officials, Mr Lee said 235 gigabytes of data had been stolen, although 80 per cent of the documents had yet to be identified. Among the files identified were contingency plans for Seoul’s special forces as well as information on key military facilities and power plants, the lawmaker said. North Korea is known to have advanced cyber warfare capabilities and is believed to be behind attacks on governments, financial institutions and even film studios worldwide. Most recently, security group FireEye said hackers from Pyongyang were attempting to steal Bitcoin from South Korean exchanges as a means of avoiding increasingly punitive international sanctions.
North Korean soldiers march in Pyongyang with the Monument of Party Founding in the background.
Under their mutual defense treaty, the United States takes operational control of South Korean troops in the event of war on the divided Korean Peninsula. The two allies hone their war plans through annual joint military exercises. As Mr. Kim, the North Korean leader, has accelerated his nuclear missile program in recent years, South Korean defense officials have publicly discussed pre-emptive strikes at critical missile and nuclear sites in North Korea and an operation to eliminate the North’s top leaders.
After North Korea’s sixth — and by far most powerful — nuclear test last month, the South Korean defense minister, Song Young-moo, told lawmakers in Seoul that a special forces unit with a task of removing Mr. Kim would be established by the end of the year. Last month, United States strategic bombers and fighter jets also flew deep to the north along the east coast of North Korea in what some South Korean defense analysts said was an exercise to target the North Korean leadership in the event of conflict. North Korea bristles at any threat to Mr. Kim, and a war of words has escalated between North Korea and the Trump administration. North Korea claimed a right to shoot down American warplanes flying in international airspace if they came near the country. When President Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea last month, Mr. Kim vowed to “tame the mentally deranged U.S dotard with fire.”
North Korea runs an army of hackers trained to disrupt enemy computer networks and steal cash and sensitive data. In the past decade, it has been blamed for numerous cyber-heists and other hacking attacks in South Korea and elsewhere. In the attack in September last year, later code-named “Desert Wolf” by anti-hacking security officials, North Korean hackers infected 3,200 computers, including 700 connected to the South Korean military’s internal network, which is normally cut off from the internet. The attack even affected a computer used by the defense minister.
The population of North Korea is estimated at 25.4 millions, but Bill Gates is worth five times as much by himself than the country’s GDP. Public holidays in North Korea usually include a colourful and choreographed mass dance celebration. This one was for National Day, the day of the founding of North Korea. As a tourist you’re permitted to join and dance. The statement under the portraits translates to “Comrade Kim Il-Sung and Comrade Kim Jong-Il will be with us eternally”. On average North Koreans born since WWII are about two inches shorter than their South Korean counterparts. North Korea claims to have a 100% Literacy rate.
Hopefully there was no hacking at the Oxshott Bridge Club last night, but there was plenty of competition as 15 + ½ Tables sat down to contest our regular Club Night. You can read all about it in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box. Alternatively you can study the full Leaderboard and the individual Travellers by clicking on the "Calendar & Past Results" tab and again on "Wed 11 Oct". it is our Annual General Meeting in two weeks on Wednesday 25th October. The papers for the AGM are available to read; just click on the "AGM Documents" tab in our Menu. Remember that the AGM starts on 25th October at 7.15 pm promptly as we hope to hold a regular Club Night after the business is concluded. Happy reading of the AGM documents, and see you soon!!